Search results: "Nentir Vale" (page 2 of 5)

Into The Nentir Vale: Part 5

Logo courtesy Wizards of the Coast

The Nentir Vale is a campaign setting provided to new players of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. It’s present in the Red Box and most of the starting materials. For a party almost all completely new to D&D and a DM re-familiarizing himself with the latest edition, it’s a great place to start a campaign. This will be an ongoing recollection of what happens to the party as they make their way through the Nentir Vale. Enjoy.

Previously: Who’s in charge of these kobolds, anyway?

The party continued down the King’s Road to Winterhaven. They remained long enough to speak with a few of the locals about the Keep on the Shadowfell. Apparently, it had been occupied but only until recently. Making their way north of Winterhaven to the forbidding ruin of the Keep, they found evidence of the goings-on taking place before its abandonment. Under the ruin through some dank corridors, they found a room almost entirely encased in shadow. The half-completed portal in the room seemed to be absorbing the light from the few guttering torches in the chamber. Despite this dire portent, there was not a living soul to be found among the ruins or the catacombs, and the only clue as to what had happened to either the death cultist Krillorien sought or the goblin war chief mentioned in the letter carried by Lyria was a dark banner, bordered in red with a single symbol in its center: a red circular chain.

“We should take it.” – Ben as Krillorien
“But stealing is wrong!” – Mike as Andrasian
“Lyria’s already taken it.” – Danielle

The party returned to Winterhaven before setting down the King’s Road for Fallcrest. Without wagons or horses, the trek took them two days. Upon arriving they made finding Marla, the priestess of Pelor who had told Krillorien of Malareth’s fascination with death cults and reported activity outside of Winterhaven. They found her in the House of the Sun, speaking with a senior priest, Grundelmar the dwarf. Upon seeing the banner, the priests sent the foursome to the Lord Warden, aware of his interest in the chain symbol but unsure of its significance. Markelhay, happy to see the heroes, told them the banner belonged to the Iron Circle.

A band of mercenaries with a mysterious but undeniable purpose, the Iron Circle first appeared in the Nentir Vale two months before the party’s discovery of their banner in the Keep. While the Lord Warden had gotten no reports of Circle activity anywhere near Winterhaven, he does know they stormed Harken Keep to the southeast and conquered Harkenwold. Markelhay’s friend, Baron Stockmer, was now their captive, and the brigands were exacting “tolls” and confiscations from all who dwelt and passed through the area.

Teldorthan Ironhews had also heard of the Iron Circle. The blacksmith told Andrasian that he’d heard rumors of an old nemesis, Nazin Redthorn, commanding the mercenaries in the Nentir Vale. Fashioning a suit of mail from draconscale recovered by the elf, Teldorthan expressed his desire for the adventurers to return to Redthorn’s head. Lyria was also a beneficiary of the blacksmith, who presented her with an obsidian dagger fashioned by the drow. To explore and empower its enchantments, the halfling and Melanie visited Orest Naerumar, who was delighted to see them. He asked if the rumors were true, and the heroes had rid the Vale of the extant threat within Kobold Hall.

“Yeah, they played tetherball with us.” – Ben

Outfitted and prepared, the heroes found space aboard a wagon train heading south. Rather than go into Harkenwold itself, the driver let them off before taking a fork from the King’s Road towards Hammerfast. Proceeding on foot, the party spotted black smoke and followed it to a scene of a homestead being put to the torch. Iron Circle brigands and their pet wolves had set the outhouse on fire, and when the party approached they dismissed the heroes, saying it was Iron Circle business. A woman’s voice from within the house pointed out that this ‘business’ looked like robbery and murder.

The battle ensued and it was clear the party was a match for the mercenaries. The wolves harried the heroes but they did not last long under the concentrated efforts of Melanie’s spells, Andrasian’s blade, Lyria’s flourishes and Krillorien’s prayers. Inside the house they found a woman named Ilyana and her sons. The homesteader explained that her husband Karthen had been murdered by the mercenaries, but hope remains and the people are ready to fight back. To touch things off, the heroes would need to speak with Reithann, the druid, or Dar Gremath, an old fighter somewhere in the town of Albridge. With the druid’s grove being closer, the heroes set off in that direction first…

Next: Damn Dirty Croakers

All locations, NPCs, spells and equipment copyright Wizards of the Coast unless otherwise noted.

Into the Nentir Vale: Part 4

Logo courtesy Wizards of the Coast

The Nentir Vale is a campaign setting provided to new players of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. It’s present in the Red Box and most of the starting materials. For a party almost all completely new to D&D and a DM re-familiarizing himself with the latest edition, it’s a great place to start a campaign. This will be an ongoing recollection of what happens to the party as they make their way through the Nentir Vale. Enjoy.

Previously: Kobolds play in old tombs.

They took time to rest. Melanie reflected on her spells, Lyria sharpened her daggers, Andrasian practiced his swings with the axe and Krillorien recited his prayers. When they were ready, they delved
deeper into the so-called Kobold Hall, wary for trouble and unnerved by the caverns’ growing chill.

They walked into an open chamber with pillars and a frozen pool of water. Guttering torchlight cast dancing shadows along the stone walls. The party kept their eyes on the darkness for any potential danger, with the exception of Lyria.

“Oh my, is that a hangnail?” – Danielle as Lyria, getting surprised by Szartharrax

From behind the largest pillar in the room, a large winged shape pounced upon the party. Covered in snow-white scales and fixed on its prey with beady eyes, the white dragon Szartharrax announced his presence with a blast of cold breath and a palpable miasma of fear. The party was quick to respond, Krillorien blessing them with his prayers as Melanie assaulted the dragon with the vision of an imposing ogre. The dragon seemed unimpressed, however, and swiped at the humanoids with its massive claws.

“Why do we roll shit when we get all these bonuses?”
“Because RNG hates your guts.”
– Eric & Danielle

The dragon did not have the advantage of surprise for long. Lyria, forgetting all about her apparent hangnail, sank her blades deep into its side as Andrasian kept it at bay. Krillorien’s sword sang the battle hymn of Pelor as Melanie conjured the terrifying image of a mind flayer. Set on its scaly heels by the assault, Szartharrax struck back, only to overextend its reach and leave itself open to a counterattack by the cleric, who unleaded a brand of righteousness upon their foe.

“It misses like a champ.”
“Then I kick it in the balls.” – DM & Ben

The dragon quickly found itself on the defensive. Another flurry of blows from the halfling sent it into a mad frenzy, causing it to breath cold once more. This time, the sellswords were ready for it. Spells and strikes meant to shatter bones and cleave limbs came into play, even if every blow did not land as intended.

“RIGHTEOUS BRA- oh, a 7. Nevermind.” – Eric, on Ben’s Righteous Brand roll

Szartharrax had begun by attacking Lyria and Melanie in an apparent bid to rob the party of its lighter-armored members. Now, it focused all of its attention on the elf in scale mail. Perhaps the metal scales reminded it of some metallic foe of its past. Perhaps the elf’s blows were the most telling. Whatever the reason, Szartharrax lashed out at Andrasian, first with its claws and then, unsatisfied, snapped out to bite the elf. Andrasian felt the cold teeth sink deep, but struck back at the dragon with all his might.

“It’s okay, I still have Elven Accuracy just in case. *rolls a 4* …I use Elven Accuracy…” – Mike

The dragon was clearly beginning to feel its wounds. Its movements slowed but were still deadly. Melanie reached deep into Szartharrax’s juvenile mind, pulled out its deepest fear and made it real with her phantasmal force. The metallic dragon that suddenly appeared roared at Szartharrax, giving it pause. That was the opening Lyria had been waiting for. With a running start, she sprang onto the white dragon’s snout, somersaulted behind its horns and bent to bury her dagger in its eye up the hilt. The white dragon squawked in surprise, then toppled to the ground.

“YAAAAAY WE DID IT! *claps like an infant*” – Ben

Among the dragon’s hidden belongings were the bit of dragon hide Teldorthan had asked Andrasian to recover, a sum of gold along with a decent-sized pearl, a longsword with a handle wrapped in black leather with a small silver skull for a pommel, and a letter written in Draconic offering an alliance to the kobolds from Irontooth, the goblin warlord wishing to conquer the Nentir Vale. It spoke of taking the long-unoccupied dwarven manse south of Fallcrest and using it as a staging point for the invasion of the town. Krillorien realized that was why the goblins kept attacking his house.

The party left Kobold Hall, returning briefly to Fallcrest before making their way south to Winterhaven east to Harkenwold. While they had ended the threat of Szartharrax and his kobold minions, the ominous portents of the letter and word of a death cult beyond the southern hamlet eastern barony meant their adventures were only beginning…

Next: Your cultist is in another castle.

All locations, NPCs, spells and equipment copyright Wizards of the Coast unless otherwise noted.

Into the Nentir Vale: Part 3

Logo courtesy Wizards of the Coast

The Nentir Vale is a campaign setting provided to new players of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. It’s present in the Red Box and most of the starting materials. For a party almost all completely new to D&D and a DM re-familiarizing himself with the latest edition, it’s a great place to start a campaign. This will be an ongoing recollection of what happens to the party as they make their way through the Nentir Vale. Enjoy.

Previously: A dwarf “fortress”, the town of Fallcrest and a sparkly cleric.

I seem to have misplaced the quotes I scribbled down from our last session. Which means this recap will likely be somewhat dull. – DM

They called it Kobold Hall, or Kobold Keep. Some of the more disgruntled denizens of Fallcrest called it Kobold Hole. It was a known nexus of activity for the reptilian raiders, but no individual or group had stepped forward to deal with the threat. Until now.

The band of sellswords from Fallcrest made their way into the old ruin. At the base of what was once a guard tower, they found a trapdoor with rusty hinges. Tugging on the ring revealed stairs leading underground. At the base of the long stair was a dank room dominated by a pit of sludge and patrolled by kobolds. The guards bore spears and slings, while Andrasian hefted his Lifedrinker Battleaxe, Lyria drew her daggers, Melanie began casting spells and Krillorien hewed into the kobolds with longsword and holy words.

Beyond the sludge pit was an ancient tomb converted into a shrine for the kobolds’ twisted rituals. Krillorien bristled at the sight of such graven imagery as the party moved into the room. However, more than reptilians occupied it. The suits of armor situated in alcoves along the walls spat darts on anyone large enough to trigger the connected pressure plates. Lyria, being small and light, breezed over the plates on her way to deliver a series of stabbings to her foes. After the kobolds had fallen, they found the shrine in the corner was to Tiamat, the dire dragon goddess of greed and envy.

The next tomb had been converted into a kobold playground. A large stone, covered in sludge, hung from the ceiling on the end of a long rope. Small animal skulls were arranged on the coffins in the room. The object of the game, it seemed, was to smash the skulls on the coffin – or those of any intruders. Avoiding the stone as it swung through the room was problematic for most of the party, as Lyria’s size again gave her an advantage. However, Andrasian and Krillorien immediately took it upon themselves to spoil the game by severing the rope. Melanie’s spells took care of the players as they made for the doors at the far end of the room. Lyria ran up and across a wall to reach one of the platforms from which the players had cast their ball, only to find a fearsome guard drake waiting for her. The fight that followed was pitched, but in the end the party survived.

Awaiting in the adjoining chamber was a wyrmpriest of Tiamat and his cohort. As the sellswords rushed into the room, a giant boulder crashed out of the side of the room and began rolling towards them. A slightly depressed portion of the floor by an inner chamber kept the boulder rolling around, making positioning difficult. The wyrmpriest was a bit too eager to exercise his ability to breathe ice, and Melanie proved herself a superior spellcaster. For her effort, she found a staff of the war mage on the kobold’s corpse. But the question as to why the kobold’s ability involved cold breath was a somewhat disconcerting one…

Next: Who’s in charge of these kobolds, anyway?

All locations, NPCs, spells and equipment copyright Wizards of the Coast unless otherwise noted.

Into The Nentir Vale, Part 2

Logo courtesy Wizards of the Coast

The Nentir Vale is a campaign setting provided to new players of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. It’s present in the Red Box and most of the starting materials. For a party almost all completely new to D&D and a DM re-familiarizing himself with the latest edition, it’s a great place to start a campaign. This will be an ongoing recollection of what happens to the party as they make their way through the Nentir Vale. Enjoy.

Previously: Meet the sellswords.

When Andrasian, Melanie and Lyria finally made it to Fallcrest, the wagon master greeted Sergeant Murgeddin heartily. After a brief conversation, the dwarven sergeant instructed the party to take their item to Marla of the Great Church, an institution dedicated to the worship of Pelor. Given the nature of the box’s contents, the trio agreed that it was best to put it in someone else’s hands as quickly as possible, and a holy priestess of the sun god seemed like as good a choice as any.

They made their way through Fallcrest’s winding streets to Moonstone Keep and found quite a few people waiting to see Lord Warden Faren Markelhay, from peasants to local lords. They politely waited in the queue… for about two minutes. They then moved to the front and asked the officious bureaucrat about the wait and attempted to convey the importance of their mission. The bureaucrat refused to grant them entry, unwilling to even consider it unless he knew what was in the box. After one blow-off after another, Andrasian finally showed the bureaucrat the ghastly contents. Turning white as a sheet and uttering nervous prayers, the bureaucrat let them pass and promptly found the nearest latrine.

Within the keep’s throne room, Markelhay looked over maps, scrolls and laws. The thone’s dias was unoccupied, the Lord Warden occupying a simple chair behind his cluttered desk. To one side, Marla spoke with another priest of Pelor, a young eladrin who had come to the Lord Warden to validate the deed for his manor. It was a stout, dwarven building a few miles south of Fallcrest which the cleric’s father had won in a game of Three-Dragon Ante with a dwarven companion. Dwarves kept the grounds and halls clean and safe, and after spending the night there, the cleric had come to ensure no other lord or well-to-do businessman could claim it. He introduced himself to the trio as Krillorien.

“In the words of Sookie Stackhouse, ‘I’m a fucking fairy!'” – Ben, introducing himself to the group.

When Marla was presented with the box, she thanked the trio and conveyed some of her concerns, which were not unrelated. Rumors of a death cult had compelled her to look into the whereabouts of a demented priest calling himself Kalarel. Unholy rituals within the land of the Nentir Vale unnerved the priestess, and she had discussed it with Krillorien prior to their arrival. The group agreed to investigate, and Krillorien volunteered to join them.

Before departing, the group decided to look around Fallcrest for new equipment and armor. The Halfmoon Trading House and Sandercot Provisions yielded nothing of note save some energetic haggling, but Naerumar’s Imports was another story. Operated by the gentlemanly tiefling Orest Naerumar, he assured the incoming patrons that magic was all around them.

“I don’t know about this guy. That line sounds pretty gay.” – Danielle

Lyria’s attention was caught by a nondescript bag hanging in the corner. Orest told her it could hold far more than it seemed, and he was willing to trade her a favor for it. An associate of his in Winterhaven by the name of Valthrun the Prescient was corresponding with him on the subject of alchemy, and the last letter indicated the sage had broken one too many of his flasks. Orest asked Lyria if she would kindly deliver a masterwork alchemy set to Valthrun, and in exchange she could keep the bag of holding. The halfling agreed.

Meanwhile, Andrasian looked into new equipment at the smithy. Jovial Teldorthan Ironhews was happy to see a warrior come into his shop and asked if the lad had ever used a hammer. Andrasian showed the smith his axe and inquired about fresh armor. Teldorthan related that he had come into some dragon hide he intended to craft into a suit of scale, but kobold raiders had made off with the prize. He’d last heard they were using a ruined manor called Kobold Hall as their hideout. Andrasian told the smith he’d recover the hide if the smith would, in turn, craft armor for him. Ironhews was delighted to accept.

Dressing Melanie was a more straightforward task. On recommendation from Orest, she and Lyria went to House Azaer, Fallcrest’s premier importer and finest clothier. Upon seeing the two and being told that Melanie was in need of clothing, tiefling and landlady Amara Azaer called for her tailor, Rodney Grant, who appeared from behind counter, gasped at the sight of Melanie’s near-nakedness, took her by the hand and pulled her into his workshop for an immediate fitting.

Equipped and fully stocked, the party set out for Winterhaven. On the way, however, they were ambushed by several kobolds. Krillorien proved himself immediately, his lances of light paring down the enemy numbers.

“Sparkles!” – Ben’s method of invoking Lance of Faith.

They made short work of the lizardlings. Among the ruined bodies they discovered a half-soaked map with directions marked and notes made in Draconic. Adjusting her glasses, Lyria made out the scrawls and revealed the map showed the way to Kobold Hall. Considering how close they were and with the sun nearing its apex, the party decided to head for the kobold hideout with all due speed…

Next: Kobolds play in old tombs.

All locations, NPCs, spells and equipment copyright Wizards of the Coast unless otherwise noted.

Into The Nentir Vale, Part 1

Logo courtesy Wizards of the Coast

The Nentir Vale is a campaign setting provided to new players of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. It’s present in the Red Box and most of the starting materials. For a party almost all completely new to D&D and a DM re-familiarizing himself with the latest edition, it’s a great place to start a campaign. This will be an ongoing recollection of what happens to the party as they make their way through the Nentir Vale. Enjoy.

Trade caravans often travel the King’s Road in the Nentir Vale. With bandits, wild animals and monsters roaming unchecked throughout the countryside, traders attempting to bring much needed goods to the town of Fallcrest and beyond often welcome the company of adventurers. They’re not always paid, but even the most inexperienced sword or spell can ward off unwanted attention.

This was the situation on a sunny afternoon. Traevus, a wagonmaster coming north through Harkenwood, had a few young adventurers with him when his wagon was beset by goblins. The adventurers sprang to his defense and managed to drive the goblins off. A distant rider shook his fist in contempt of his failed minions and rode off. None of the travelers was seriously hurt. However, a valuable box was stolen from Traevus’ wagon, and he commissioned the adventurers to bring it back.

Andrasian wasn’t about to let thieves escape without facing justice. He also was looking forward to not being so close to so many humans. Their city-folk ways put him a bit ill at ease. He was a warrior of the wilds, and his simple greatsword thirsted for more blood of the wicked.

“Like my Dalish character in Dragon Age, but with a Y chromosome and actually nice to some people.” – Mike, Andy’s player

Melanie Good-Melons, on the other hand, couldn’t care less what the goblins stole or why. The offer of payment, however, persuaded her to join the party. A seer had seen Mel as an infant and predicted both her arcane inclination and her voluptuous body shape. Not one to hide her assets, Mel made it a point to wonder why Lyria wore such tight, dark leather. “The body is something that should be cherished,” she said, “instead of hidden in disgrace.”

“A magically voluptuous freelance adventurer with a taste for danger and minimal coverage.” – Eric, Mel’s player

Lyria, for her part, didn’t want these goblins giving honest thieves like her a bad name. Stealing from a fat nobleman who pissed on the peasantry was one thing, but stealing the goods of a struggling merchant just trying to make it as far as Fallcrest? She wasn’t having any of that. A lithe halfling that moved like a dancer and always had a dagger handy, Lyria seemed interested in the adventure as much for helping Traevus as for the promise of treasure.

“Think Bayonetta, only three feet tall.” – my comment on Danielle’s description of Lyria

The three interrogated one of the remaining goblins. Before expiring, the goblin confessed to the rather intimidating elf asking the questions that he came from a ruined, half-buried temple deep in the woods. Andrasian lead the ladies down the indicated path without incident. They came across the ruin and made their way inside, finding two corridors leading into the rock. They chose one and came across a surprise.

Instead of goblins, the trio encountered a cadre of kobolds wandering the halls of a section of the temple. The kobolds chatted amongst themselves as to how to deal with the intruders. Not wanting to betray that she speaks the language of dragons, Lyria kept quiet as Andrasian asked to be taken to their leader. The kobolds’ master turned out to be, rather than the disgruntled rider, a fledgling white dragon named Farallax.

Farallax told the trio that he saw the temple as his, and the human who they’d seen, Malareth, was an intruder. If they drove Malareth and his goblin cohorts out, he’d reward them. Considering he was both sitting on a pile of treasure and looked poised to wipe the floor with the party if they refused, the adventurers agreed. The dragon pointed to a door that would take them to Malareth.

Beyond the dragon’s lair was a storage area where goblins milled about. The trio sprang into action. Andrasian met the goblins head-on, Lyria snuck and danced around the fight looking for the best angle at which to stab a given opponent, and magic missiles flew from Mel’s fingertips. A hulking bugbear with a nasty-looking greataxe entered the fray. It took a coordinated effort between the three adventurers to deal with the captain of Malareth’s guard, but despite being bloodied and bruised, Andrasian found the heft of the bugbear’s axe rather satisfying, resolving to take it with him.

Malareth’s lair was a dark laboratory full of bubbling vials, moldy books and a few skeletal servants. Out of the corner lumbered a stitched-together monstrosity, a huge zombie that was not likely to fit through a standard door. Malareth dismissively told his servants to deal with the intruders. Mel’s spells kept the zombie at bay, pushing it back and causing it to tear the arm from one of Malareth’s skeletons in its rage. Andrasian’s new axe hewed into bone. Lyria played with her opponents, often slipping in for the killing blow as the fighter’s strength put them off-balance. Malareth’s dark powers often froze the adventurers in their tracks and repaired the damage to his minions. For a while, the fight could have gone either way.

Then Lyria leaped onto the shoulders of the zombie and stabbed it in the base of the skull, severing the connection between its rotting brain and animated muscles. The beast toppled to the floor in a heap of body parts, the magic animating it draining away and its stitches coming undone. Malareth stood alone against the party, and despite his affinity for the magic of death, he was no match for them. Melanie eagerly claimed his staff for her own.

The box that had been stolen from Traevus sat on the necromancer’s table. It contained an immaculate skull that radiated dark energy. The trio discussed the possible ramifications of this on their way out. Farallax thanked them for taking care of the pesky human, reached into his pile of gold and treasure, and pulled out a suit of leathers for Lyria. The party found their way back to Traevus, who explained the artifact was being taken to a monastery deep in the mountains where it could be destroyed or, at the very least, kept safe.

Satisfied for now with that explanation and paid for their service, the trio of adventures kept the rest of the trip incident-free all the way to Fallcrest…

Next: A dwarf “fortress”, the town of Fallcrest and a sparkly cleric.

All locations, NPCs, spells and equipment copyright Wizards of the Coast unless otherwise noted.

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